I thought we’d explore the exciting world of re-writing in this week’s exercise.
Pick a Paragraph
Find a paragraph from something you’ve written – either in the past or your current WIP – and either copy and paste it into a separate document on your computer. If it’s handwritten, you can type it into a new document.
If you don’t have anything, pick a paragraph from a book you’ve read.
This paragraph should be five or more sentences.
Make it Brief
Read through the paragraph. What’s the main point of the information presented? How can that information be conveyed in fewer sentences or fewer words?
Does the information presented in the original paragraph still come across in the new, shorter version? How could the information presented in the original paragraph be cut down to one sentence?
Expand, Expand, Expand
Using the original paragraph, how can you expand upon the information provided and turn the paragraph’s content into a page-long paragraph? Could you add details, more flowery language, or expand upon the information provided without obscuring the meaning of the original paragraph?
Does the longer paragraph still convey the original’s meaning, or is it somehow lost in the expanded translation?
Start over. Re-write the original paragraph to communicate the same information in the same amount of space, but create a whole new paragraph.
How does the rewritten one differ from the original? What did you add or remove that gave the paragraph greater clarity or might cause confusion?
Why Am I Doing This?
When it comes to writing, editing is part of the process. Sometimes we might come across a paragraph or section of our story that needs further information or detail to give information to the audience.
Other times we might have to cut down a paragraph to its bare bones but still need to convey the same information. This skill will be helpful if you’re dealing with a required word count.
An author who is excellent at communicating a lot of info in a short space is James Patterson.
On the flip side, George R.R. Martin is an author who can expand a small idea into a long-form paragraph.
I recommend reading or skimming their works for examples of long and short paragraphs.
Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!